Sheffield Town Hall

Lodges in Sheffield

First Lodges in Sheffield

In 1815 a book was published called “The Orange Miscellany or Orangeman’s Guide.” It listed the Lodges in existence in 1811, seventy-five in number, with Lodge No.71 located in Sheffield. However, no time or place of meeting is given and some years later No.71 is known to have sat at Brecon in Wales, so it seems possible the warrant was returned to Grand Lodge without the lodge ever having been in operation. It is possible that the first lodge in the town operated under an Irish Military Warrant granted to the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia. This was the local regiment and saw wide service around the country during the Napoleonic Wars. On formation of the Grand Lodge of England this warrant would be recalled, and in 1809 they were issued with the warrant for Lodge No.42. When the Militia Regiments were stood down in 1815 this was taken over by civilians, and in 1830 was called “True Blue,” meeting at the King William on Solly-Street on the second Tuesday in the month.

Nothing is then heard for many years, although in 1832 the Loyal Orange Lodge is recorded as walking in the procession to celebrate the passing of the Great Reform Bill, behind the Druids with their band of music, and in front of the Filesmiths Society.

Following the passing of the Reform Bill, the Grand Master, the Duke of Cumberland, set about re-organising and expanding the Institution. C.Eustace Chetwoode had been Deputy Grand Secretary for 10 years, but at this time he left the Order, under allegations of financial ineptitude and of being a Papist. His position was taken by William Blennerhasset Fairman. He had joined a London lodge in 1814 and made extravagant claims for himself, claiming to have exposed a plot against the Royal House in 1809 and that the Duke of Wellington intended to have himself made Regent for Princess Victoria and ultimately become Lord Protector.

In 1832 Cumberland nominated Fairman as Deputy Grand Secretary and sent him on a tour of the Midlands, the North, and Scotland. In Yorkshire, he founded the Royal Cumberland Lodge in Barnsley, and in Sheffield met the membership, and their District Master, Joseph Heywood. Heywood later claimed that Fairman had asked if the members would rally to the Duke of Cumberland “if any row took place.” He is also said to have declared that “His Majesty had no right to sanction the revolutionary measures of government in passing the Reform Bill, and that a row was expected to take place.”

The elections of 1835 left a Whig government dependent on the votes of anti-Orange M.P.’s who, as the price for their support, demanded and got a Select Committee to enquire into Orangeism. This eventually submitted four reports, the last one dealing with the English Lodges.

A split now occurred in Orange ranks. A meeting of members, led by Heywood was held at Wakefield and passed resolutions critical of Cumberland. Heywood and thirty-one others were expelled and it is possible the Sheffield Lodges broke away from Grand Lodge as a body at this time. Heywood wrote to Deputy Grand Master, Lord Kenyon, accusing Fairman of having sounded out Orangemen for support in the event of a coup d’etat, putting Cumberland on the throne instead of the Princess Victoria. Heywood was produced at the Committee of Enquiry as a witness against the Institution and Fairman commenced legal proceedings; but Heywood died of a burst blood vessel before the case reached court.

An attempt was made by enemies of the Order to expel all members from civil and military office and the Duke of Cumberland was obliged to dissolve the Institution.

Lodges in November 1830

The 1835 Report on Orange Lodges in Great Britain (Appendix 19) lists 265 Warrants, 6 being dormant. Those in Sheffield were:- No.42 meeting at the King William, Solly Street, No.133 meeting at the Royal Oak, Pond Street, No.135 meeting at the Dolphin, Edward Street, and No.185 as the Deputy Grand Master’s Warrant. Figures available say there were only a total of 25 members in the Sheffield District. Nearby lodges included:- No.49 at the Nelson Inn, Barnsley; No.152 at the Angel Inn, Silkstone; No.155 at the White Lion Inn, Goberhall; No.157 at the Beaumont Arms, Bretton; No.221 at the Greyhound Inn, Worksop; and No.242 at the King’s Head Inn, Hemsworth.

The Grand Protestant Association

After the dissolution of Grand Lodge in 1836 the Orange lodges continued to function, either individually or as part of loosely organized Districts. The largest of these was the Grand Protestant Confederation, formed by James Worral Sylvester at a meeting in Huddersfield soon after the dissolution. Many lodges in Liverpool however would not associate with an organisation which did not use the name “Orange” and continued as part of the Grand Orange Lodge of Liverpool. In 1844 a meeting took place in Kidderminster between representatives of the two organisations, the outcome of which was the formation of the Grand Protestant Association of Loyal Orangemen of Great Britain. The Earl of Enniskillen agreed to become Grand Master. The driving force behind the Association for many years was Bro.Squire Auty of Bradford who travelled extensively to meetings around the country and published a newsletter called The Orange and Blue Banner. However there were still lodges which refused to join the new organization and continued as part of the Loyal Orange Institution. Since these were in Liverpool and other areas of Orange growth, in a few years the split was soon to become as great as it was before 1844.

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